I picked this up because the name of the band on the CD the girl is holding amused me. “Astral Glow”. That sounds so… wrong to me somehow ^_^ This is a cute collection of three one-shot romance stories that were originally published in Sho-Comi magazine. With that said, they are amazingly un-smutty. Sho-Comi can get rather racy at times (it is up there on the high smut plane with Cheese! magazine) but these stories are all simply cute and fun. The art style is clean and fairly standard, bu I really liked the cute little illustrations at the end of the stories that take a scene from that story and shows how it could have happened differently. The art there is so adorable!
The first story takes up half of the book, and deals with a famous idol/rock group, but for once it is handled in a slightly different way, and I like how it turns out. HASHIMOTO Kokoro is a huge fan of the popular rock group, “Astral Glow”. She and her friend are very excited about having tickets to one of their live performances. At the show, Kokoro is in heaven. She is totally in love with the lead singer Kai. His presence on stage is so amazing, and, like many music fangirls, sighs dreamily that she would like to marry him. This wishful comment on Kokoro’s part draws a sneering comment from another fan standing nearby. It is a guy, about Kokoro’s age. He is not impressed by her fangirly drooling over Kai, and says some pretty rude things. The nerve of this guy! What a creep!
However, when Kokoro’s friend suddenly falls ill, the strange guy proves to be unexpectedly helpful. He aids Kokoro in finding a security person who will assist Kokoro and her friend out of the show and get the friend some medical help. Maybe this guy isn’t so bad after all? Kokoro, being the die-hard Astral Glow fan that she is, has tickets to several of their shows, and wouldn’t you know it- she runs into the same guy again! This time they meet on better terms, and manage to get along ok. They both really enjoy the concert (in spite of Kokoro’s dreamy feelings for the singer, Kai) and they soon become good friends. His name is Haru, and even though they go to different high schools,they meet up often. Their friendship is based on their mutual like of Astral Glow. They can be super fans together and talk about the band and the music, and see their shows! Finally, someone else who understands how cool Astral Glow is!
But just when their friendship is going along well, something amazing happens! Kokoro bumps into someone, and it just happens to be Kai, the vocalist from Astral Glow! He is even cuter in person, and Kokoro is starstruck! As for Kai, he finds Kokoro to be very interesting and cute! But if Kai falls for Kokoro, what will happen to Haru?
Story 2 is adorable. It is about IWAI Akari, a girl who (along with classmate TOKIGAWA Ren) has been selected to create their class photo album/memory book. They are about to graduate, and it is up to them to capture some fun memories of their class on film. Akari is excited about this, but is a bit nervous about working with Ren. They have never really talked before, and he isn’t exactly the outgoing, fun type of guy. He is actually very quiet, and she has a hard time telling what he is thinking or feeling. But together they work on taking good photos and capturing some good memories of their class. To Akari’s surprise, Ren is actually very perceptive and helpful, even without being extremely talkative. He takes very good photos.
The last story is about Miku, who, with her boyfriend Ikumi, were side/supporting characters in the previous story. Miku and Ikumi have been dating for a little while now, but things aren’t going quite as smoothly as it may have seemed before. Ikumi does seem to care about Miku, but his personality is such that he is very friendly with everyone. He has no problem leaving Miku and going off to Karaoke with other girls in their class. Miku is troubled by all of this. What can she do? I liked how this story didn’t follow the traditional shoujo pattern. It felt somewhat realistic, something rare in shoujo manga these days! ^_^